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Yale Pulls Honorary Degree From Bill Cosby, The First Time In The School's History

Bill Cosby, center, leaves the the Montgomery County Courthouse in Pennsylvania after being convicted of drugging and molesting a woman on April 26, 2018.
Matt Slocum

Yale University announced Wednesday that its board of trustees voted to rescind the honorary degree awarded to comedian Bill Cosby in 2003.

As early as 2014, a group of students had urged the Ivy League school to take back Cosby's degree, after accusations that he had drugged and sexually harassed numerous women became public. The move by the university represents the first time in its 300 year history that an honorary degree has ever been rescinded, according to T he Atlantic.

Cosby was convicted last week by a Pennsylvania jury of drugging and sexually assaulting a Temple University employee at his home. He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. The 80-year-old comedian is currently out on bail.

A statement posted on the Yale's website explained:

"The decision is based on a court record providing clear and convincing evidence of conduct that violates fundamental standards of decency shared by all members of the Yale community, conduct that was unknown to the board at the time the degree was awarded. The board took this decision following Mr. Cosby's criminal conviction after he was afforded due process.

"Yale is committed to both the elimination of sexual misconduct and the adherence to due process. We reaffirm that commitment with our action today."

More than 20 other American colleges and universities had already revoked the honorary degrees they gave to Cosby before his conviction, according to The Associated Press.

And like Yale, Cosby's alma mater, Temple University, Carnegie Mellon University, Notre Dame, and Johns Hopkins University all rescinded their honorary degrees after his guilty verdict.

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Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.
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